Tesco fined for unspecial special offer
Oh dear Tesco. With UK profits ailing, you don’t need to do anything to make yourself less popular with shoppers. And being found guilty of lying to your customers is hardly going to make you look good now is it?
This week, Tesco has been found guilty of lying to misleading customers over a special offer on strawberries that was anything but. The case, brought by Birmingham Trading Standards, centred on an ‘offer’ on strawberries that claimed to be half price- even though it turned out the fruit had actually been sold at the lower price for longer than the ‘regular’ price.
“Tenacious” Brummie Daphne Smallman informed Birmingham City Council's trading standards department of the bum deal after spotting it in her local Tesco two years ago. However, Tesco thought it was such a great deal (for them) that the same ‘offer’ was then extended across Tesco’s 2,300 stores in England and Wales.
Birmingham Crown Court, heard that at during the summer of 2011 Tesco sold 400g punnets of strawberries for £1.99 with prices of £2.99 and £3.99 crossed out. The 'offer' was available for 14 weeks, but the higher price of £3.99 was only in shops for a shorter length of time, breaching guidelines set out the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations Act 2008.
Judge Michael Chambers called the offer “patently wrong” and fined Tesco £300,000 plus £65,000 in costs.
Which! executive director Richard Lloyd said: 'It’s unacceptable that shoppers are misled into thinking they’re getting a good deal with a special offer when that might not be the case. Tesco's hefty fine sends a clear signal to supermarkets to play fair and make sure that their special offers really are special.'
In a statement Tesco said: “We apologise sincerely for this mistake, which was made in the summer of 2011. We sell over 40,000 products in our stores, with thousands on promotion at any one time, but even one mistake is one too many.
“Since then, to make sure this doesn’t happen again we’ve given colleagues additional training and reminded them of their responsibilities to ensure we always adhere to the guidelines on pricing.”
Unfortunately, the one person who won’t be celebrating is the original complainant- Ms Smallman died earlier this year before seeing her case won.